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Running on Empty and Still Cooking

Life never seems to slow down, does it? This morning, as I practically stumbled down the stairs to get the lunches packed and breakfasts finished up, my husband and I greeted each other with sympathetic, exhausted smiles and compared notes on our exhaustion headaches. “Does yours hurt more when you bend over?” “Yup.” It was a pathetic scene.

Even the weeks when there is less planned seem to fill up with decisions we have been putting off, tasks around the house we haven’t completed, and work we have been putting off because we haven’t had time. So sometimes it gets to the point where we are just worn out. That is the state of things in our house this week. It is times like these when I have to fight the desire to pick up take out or order a pizza. It is times like these when my husband gently and cautiously asks how many dishes will there be to wash after dinner.

So why do I resist that temptation to order or get take out? For a couple of reasons:

1)   I am cheap. If I don’t need to spend the money, I don’t want to. And no matter what, making something quick and easy at home will always be cheaper than ordering pizza or take-out for four.

2)   It is healthier. If I make the food it will have less unnecessary sodium and sugar, it won’t have the preservatives, and if we have meat or dairy, it will be meat and dairy I feel comfortable serving/eating.

3)   I don’t want to get into the habit. If I start ordering food, then it become more tempting to order it the next time and, sure, Chipotle or a pizza every once in a while is ok, but if we do it too often, then it is a slippery slope to once a week, then twice a week, etc. And that is something I want to avoid for the two reasons above.

veggie quesadilla

So since I am controlling and cheap, what are my solutions for days like these when I really can’t face too much cooking and my husband can’t face the dishes? Well, there are some go-to meals that I know won’t require too many dishes and require 10 minutes or less of prep time.

1)   Veggie-loaded quesadillas (what we will be having for dinner tonight). Some cheese, some beans (if I have them on-hand), a mix of whatever leftover veggies I have in the fridge or freezer, and some tortillas and I am ready to go.  Salad on the side a bonus.

2)   Grilled cheese sandwiches with salad or a frozen veggie side.

3)   Veggie scrambled eggs and toast. Chop up some veggies, sauté them in a little butter, and mix in the eggs with some salt, pepper, and herbs and your done practically by the time the toast is toasted. Fruit or salad on the side a bonus.

4)   Leftovers. Everyone gets to pick what they want from what is in the fridge.

So that is how we are going to survive this evening so that we can get to bed earlier than we have been.  What are your tricks of the days like these?

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